A SUPERHUMAN former army major from Rugby who struck gold at the Invictus Games in Canada will be a guest of honour in her home town’s sports centre this weekend.
Dr Jen Warren, who works at University Hospital Coventry (UHC), won nine medals at the international Paralympic-style event for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans in Toronto in September.
Having won nine medals at last year’s tournament in Orlando, Florida, Jen was named vice-captain of the UK Armed Forces Team in Toronto – and came home with two golds, six silvers and a bronze in handcycling, wheelchair racing and swimming.
She will appear at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre on Saturday (November 25) alongside fellow medal-winning team-mate James McGill.
The anaesthetist suffered severe nerve injuries which affected her ability to use her left leg after a 2008 skiing accident, and now predominantly uses a wheelchair when working in the theatres at UHC.
Jen said: “It was amazing to be part of the 2016 games, and in my wildest dreams I never imagined I would win so many medals.
“I was inspired to train for the Invictus squad after watching the 2014 games on TV, and participating last year was a life-changing experience.”
She said it was an honour to be chosen – let alone named as vice-captain – for this year’s UK team, which was selected and trained by charity Help for Heroes.
And she is especially proud to have been able to support her teammates – over 60 per cent of whom made their Invictus debuts in Toronto.
“It’s really special to know people were inspired by me last year, so signed up and got selected this year,” she said.
“The brilliant thing about Invictus is the chance to meet and compete against service personnel from all over the world. I’m not the only Invictus athlete working in medicine or healthcare, and it’s great to share experiences.
“I’ve learned a lot from my time as a patient and it’s amazing to see what can be achieved whatever someone’s illness or injury.”
Jen, who lives in Rugby with her husband Jon and three-year-old daughter Sally, added: “I feel participating in para sport helps me to be a better doctor and mum. It’s obviously helped my fitness which gives me more independence but it’s also given me more confidence and helps me cope psychologically with my busy job and the day-to-day challenges of my disability.
“It’s fantastic to put my training into practice. While I am competing against others, I feel my main competitor is myself; I’m always looking to do my best.
“I’m honoured to represent former servicemen and women and raise the profile of para sport.”
Jen and James will talk about their experiences in courts 5 and 6 of the sports hall at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre from 10.30am-12noon on Saturday (November 25).